Gallery 1957 is proud to present Rituals of Becoming, a new exhibition by the Ghanaian-Togolese artist Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, who works under the pseudonym crazinisT artisT, from 26 February – 12 March 2017.
Consisting of a theatrical installation that displays multichannel video projections, a readymade sculpture and a performance from the artist, the exhibition explores the assumed distinctions between gender identity, class, political injustice, violence and the objectification of humans. The immersive installation is composed from female clothes gathered and worn by the artist over the years, while the video installation depicts crazinisT artisT’s daily rituals of transformation. Collectively, these objects and videos question the strict categories of gender definition by urging us to rethink the fundamental construction of identity and gender performance.
Additionally, the artist will perform live, giving the exhibition a tangible sense of the ritual involved in his process of stripping one identity in order to assume another. Through crazinisT artisT’s ‘drag’ (the clothing associated with one gender role when worn by a person of another gender) performances, the artist aims to denaturalise and re-signify categories of the body, sex and sexuality in order to perform a subversive re-signification and proliferation of gender beyond the existing binary frame.
Likewise, elements of washing in the performance constitute a purifying ritual, where the traces of an identity are stripped bare and washed away in preparation for a new identity to be forged. Through his performances, crazinisT artisT disrupts the idea that sexual identity is coherent along the axis of feminine/ masculine, showing its failures to reflect the complexity of human nature. His performances essentially establish a new understanding of Self and Other, where the Other is not located in another individual, but part of the same body.
Through Rituals of Becoming, crazinisT artisT also considers the socio-political marginalisation of minority groups; exploring both the personal and societal implications of reconsidering gender identity.
Text courtesy Maria Rus Bojan.
About Maria Rus Bojan
An international curator, art advisor and writer based in Amsterdam, Maria Rus Bojan established MB Art Agency in 2008. Throughout her extensive career, Bojan has directed or curated at institutions including: Museum of Art, Cluj- Napoca; Sindan Cultural Foundation, Bucharest; OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz; Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'Art Contemporain, Luxembourg City; Tranzit Foundation, Cluj; MNAC- National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest.
Dates: 26 February – 12 March 2017
Address: Gallery 1957, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, PMB 66 — Ministries, Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue, Ridge — Accra, Ghana
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